NCCN Guidelines for Patients
Hodgkin Lymphoma, Version 1.2015
Overview of cancer treatments Clinical trials
New tests and treatments aren’t offered to the
public as soon as they’re made. They first need to
be studied. A clinical trial is a type of research that
studies a test or treatment.
Clinical trials study how safe and helpful tests and
treatments are. When found to be safe and helpful,
they may become tomorrow’s standard of care.
Because of clinical trials, the tests and treatments in
this book are now widely used to help people with
Hodgkin lymphoma. Future tests and treatments
that may have better results than today’s treatments
depend on clinical trials.
New tests and treatments go through a series of
clinical trials to make sure they’re safe and work.
Without clinical trials, there is no way to know if a
test or treatment is safe or helpful. Clinical trials have
four phases. Some examples of the four phases of
• Phase I trials – aim to find the best dose of a
new drug with the fewest side effects.
• Phase II trials – assess if a drug works for a
specific type of cancer.
• Phase III trials – compare a new drug to the
• Phase IV trials – test new drugs approved by
the U.S. FDA (
in many patients with different types of cancer.
Joining a clinical trial has benefits. First, you’ll have
access to the most current cancer care. Second, you
will receive the best management of care. Third, the
results of your treatment—both good and bad—will be
carefully tracked. Fourth, you may help other people
who will have cancer in the future.
Clinical trials have risks, too. Like any test or
treatment, there may be side effects. Also, new tests
or treatments may not help. Another downside may
be that paperwork or more trips to the hospital are
To join a clinical trial, you must meet the conditions
of the study. Patients in a clinical trial are often alike
in terms of their cancer and general health. This is to
know that any progress is because of the treatment
and not because of differences between patients.
To join, you’ll need to review and sign a paper called
an informed consent form. This form describes the
study in detail. The study’s risks and benefits should
be described and may include others than those
Ask your treatment team if there is an open clinical
trial that you can join. There may be clinical trials
where you’re getting treatment or at other treatment
centers nearby. You can also find clinical trials
through the websites listed in Part 6.